Senior ISIS leader killed in U.S. drone strike

Ahavah Kirwan, Contributor

The United States military conducted a unilateral strike in the northwest of Syria on April 3 that eliminated a senior ISIS leader. According to U.S. Central Command, Khalid Aydd Ahmad al-Jabouri, the senior leader who was killed last Monday, was responsible for planning ISIS attacks in Europe and Turkey. No civilians were injured or killed in this strike. 

A regional intelligence source said that Jabouri reportedly had been monitored for the last few months as he moved between the Syrian cities and towns of Hasaka, Raqqa, Jarablus and al-Bab until he was killed in the rebel-held northwest, a region where other Islamic State leaders have hidden, including Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, former leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, who died during a U.S. raid in 2019. Reports from the ground have indicated that al-Jabouri was traveling down a road on a motorcycle when a missile hit him on the outskirts of Kili, located in Idlib province, Syria. First responders responded to the strike and transported al-Jabouri to a hospital, where he lost part of his leg and left arm in the strike and ultimately died of his wounds. 

Central Command Commander, General Eric Kurilla, has issued the following statement: “ISIS continues to represent a threat to the region and beyond. Though degraded, the group remains able to conduct operations within the region with a desire to strike beyond the Middle East.” The statement also says that al-Jabouri’s death will “temporarily disrupt the organization’s ability to plot external attacks.”

The drone strike comes just a month after the U.S. military and Syrian Democratic Forces conducted a helicopter raid in Syria that killed another senior ISIS leader, Hamza al-Homsi.

The United States declares that they are committed to defeating ISIS as well as disrupting and terminating their operations “alongside partner forces in Iraq and Syria.” There are about 900 U.S. troops deployed in Syria as part of the U.S. effort to annihilate ISIS in these regions. The Islamic State has not commented on the U.S. announcement of the obliteration of their senior leader, as al-Jabouri has not been publicly identified in the group’s propaganda.